Do Seller's Have To Disclose Bed Bugs?

Real Estate Agent with Buyer's Resource Realty Services


The other day I was attending a home inspection with one of my Buyer clients.  The  Home Inspector discovered some bugs that he thought were bed bugs.  My Buyers asked me a good question, "Do Seller's have to disclose bed bugs to potential homebuyers?"

Bed bugs are becoming a major problem everywhere in the United States.  But, the bed bug problem is huge in the state of Ohio.  CBS Evening News recently had a story of the  "Top 15 Worst Cities For Bed Bugs!"  The State of Ohio has 4 cities in the top 15.   Eeek Gads!!!

The answer to this question above might not be as straight forward as you think.

In a residential real estate transaction most states do require a property disclosure form.  But, many states, including Ohio, do not specifically address bed bugs in their disclosure form.  In my opinion, the state of Ohio residential property disclosure form is inadequate and needs to be greatly improved.

In the State of Ohio we have a four page Residential Property Disclosure (RPD) Form.  A Seller is required to disclose any material problems or defects on their property that has occurred over the past five years.

The definition of a "material defect" is any problem with a home that would affect a Buyer's decision to purchase the home or affect the value of the property.

The State of Ohio RPD has 14 sections (A-N) that address such items as; structural, roof, water intrusion, mechanical, wood-boring insects, etc.  But, there is no specific section for disclosing bed bugs.  So, if there is no section in RPD do Sellers have to disclose?

I am not an attorney!!!  But, if you are a Seller struggling with what to disclose then I would use common sense and follow these 2 steps:

  • The best approach for any Seller is "when in doubt always disclose".  Many Sellers do the exact opposite and disclose nothing.  Sellers don't want to jeopardize selling their home.  This is a huge, risky gamble for any Seller.
  • Ask yourself, "would a reasonable person think the problem would affect the value?".  If the honest answer is yes, then disclose.

You would think it would be a "no brainer" on how to answer the question, "Do Seller's have to disclose Bed Bugs?".

Yes, Yes, should disclose to potential Buyers any TYPE of pest, insect or rodent infestation in your home.


This is not just limited to termites, carpenter ants, bed bugs.  But, also squirrels, rats, bats, etc. 

Any reasonable person would think that a bed bug infestation in their home would affect the value of the property.

So, in the State of Ohio, even though we don't have a specific section in the RPD to disclose bed bugs, you would need to disclose under section N (Other Known Material Defects) 

Real estate disclosure procedures vary greatly from state to state.  If you have specific questions then you should contact an attorney, licensed real estate agent or your states division/department of real estate. 

I really need to finish this post.   Bed bugs are so creepy that my mind is playing tricks on me.  As I'm writing this blog post,   I'm itching everywhere.  I hope this is not happening to you.  LOL!

If you want a little giggle, then hover your cursor over the bed bug pics above.

Good luck out there!  I hope this information is helpful. 

Please feel free to contact me if you need help or have questions

Home Buyer Advocate Mike



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Matilda Nestoroska
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Signature Service Inc., - Mississauga, ON
Real Estate Broker

I had fun reading the tags on your pictures ...and I was itching, of course! :)

When you have sellers that are not so eager to disclose something like this, just ask them how would they feel if they bought a property with the same problem, without knowing it?!

Oct 22, 2010 10:01 AM #1
Ross Therrien
Prudential Verani Realty, Londonderry,New Hampshire - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Broker Associate

NH's property disclosure askes about any infestations.  BB's I guess would be no exception.

Course if they check off yes and list BB's I'm outta there!!!!!!    Great caution.

Oct 22, 2010 10:01 AM #2
Mike Russell
Mike Russell & Associates - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Kansas Real Estate

I guess if they were selling the house furnished? If not, they would just take them with them.

Oct 22, 2010 10:02 AM #3
Liz Gimelson
Realty Mark Associates - Chalfont, PA
Bucks County Realtor-PA & NJ Notary

Um....EWWW!!!! These little buggers are everywhere.

I would think that bed bugs are not a home destroying insect....where bees, ants, termites and rodents are. So if someone has had a head lice infestation or a stink bug or the 17 year Cicada's....I don't think that it's a disclosure issue....I think it's a given issue...pretty soon Realtors won't be giving home will be home cleanings!

Oct 22, 2010 10:03 AM #4
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I suspect that a house with bedbugs would stil have bedbugs after the furniture is gone.  My question to the seller is...if you have bedbugs...why are you living with them? I guess "Nighty night...Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite"  is making a comeback as well!!

Oct 22, 2010 10:06 AM #5
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Here in CA, beginning July 1, 2017, a landlord is required to provide a written bed bug notice to a prospective tenant prior to entering into a lease or rental agreement. Beginning January 1, 2018, the notice is required to be provided to both existing and prospective tenants.

Jan 28, 2018 11:03 PM #8
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Michael Marshall

Buyer Agent (Columbus, Ohio)
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